Jones began his first class career in the 1981–82 season with Victoria in the Sheffield Shield. He made his Test debut for Australia in the West Indies in 1984. He was not picked in the original XI, but was drafted into the side after Steve Smith fell ill. Jones himself was very ill before the Test, and deemed his score of 48 on his debut as his “best knock”.
Between 1984 and 1992, Jones played 52 Test matches for Australia, scoring 3,631 runs, including 11 centuries, at an average of 46.55.
His most notable innings was in only his third Test, against India in the Tied Test in Chennai (Madras) in 1986. Suffering from dehydration in the oppressively hot and humid conditions, Jones was frequently vomiting on the pitch. He wanted to go off the field “retired ill” which led his captain Allan Border to say that if he could not handle the conditions, “then let’s get a real Australian” (Greg Ritchie, a Queenslander like Border, was the next man in to bat). This comment spurred Jones to score 210, an innings he considered a defining moment in his career and one of the epic Test innings in Australian cricket folklore.
Jones stayed in the one-day team a little longer: he was omitted from the one-day team for the 1993 Ashes tour, but managed to force his way back into the team for one last stint during the 1993–94 season, before being dropped .
Jones was one of Australia’s most successful batsmen in One Day International matches. In 164 matches he scored 6,068 runs, including seven centuries and 46 half centuries, at an average of 44.61. His strike rate of 72.56 may seem pedestrian now in the era of 300-plus scores in one-dayers and Twenty20 cricket, but it was a benchmark at the time. Jones played in the 1987 World Cup winning team, and was noted for his electric running between the wickets, outstanding out-fielding and aggressive batting especially against fast bowlers. With his positive, aggressive and flamboyant style of play he became a crowd favourite.
Jones also played for Durham and Derbyshire in the English County Championship. He left Derbyshire in mid-season and also had run-ins with authority and team mates in his home state of Victoria. During his career, he scored 19,188 runs in first class matches, including 55 centuries and 88 half centuries and a highest score of 324 not out, at an average of 51.85.
Jones is now a coach and a commentator. He created the “Professor Deano” persona to provide live cricket match commentary and insights, with apps available for iPhone and Android devices. He coached Islamabad United to their first win in the Pakistan Super League in 2016.
He is also a noted fundraiser for people with cancer. On 12 June 2006, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, he was made a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for “service to cricket as a player, coach and commentator, and to the community through fundraising activities for organisations assisting people with cancer”.
Jones has been a regular guest coach at ASC Cricket camps inspiring the next generation of aspiring cricketers in technique and cultivating appreciation for the game of cricket.